Although we love all the wines we craft, we hold a special place in our hearts for the Scheid Claret Reserve. Our Bordeaux blend receives an inordinate amount of attention, from the specially selected vineyard rows to the careful sorting of the hand-harvested fruit to the finest oak barrels. It is an opportunity for Winemaker Dave Nagengast to use the tools of a vintage to craft a full-bodied, richly flavored wine that is integrated in perfect harmony. Using the classic Bordeaux varietals, Dave has total freedom to choose and blend only the best of the best, influenced only by the unique characteristics of the vintage. Our 2010 Claret is characterized by concentrated aromas of blackberries and black currants with notes of tobacco, dark chocolate and bacon smoke. The dense flavors and balanced tannins of this full-bodied wine integrate beautifully for a long, layered finish.
The 2010 growing season was even longer than most in Monterey County, with cool summer temperatures delaying the vines by about two weeks. Warm weather in late September and October ripened the fruit and the grapes were brought in at full phenolic ripeness. Close to 75% of the blend was grown on our estate Hames Valley Vineyard in the southernmost reaches of Monterey County. The vineyard rows for our Claret are chosen and marked at the beginning of the farm year but we hedge our bets by designating far more for the Claret program then we actually need. These rows are given first-class attention throughout the growing season. Each variety is handpicked at optimum ripeness and maturity, and several different lots of each variety are made, often from different vineyards. This gives us a range of options and the luxury of choosing only the very best lots for inclusion in the final Reserve Claret.
37% Petit Verdot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec
Upon delivery to the winery, the grapes were destemmed, crushed, and fermented in small lots in open top fermenters. Over the next two weeks, the firm cap of skins and seeds that bubble up and form on the surface during red fermentation was gently punched down 3 times a day. Punching down gives the skins as much contact with the fermenting wine as possible, allowing the color and the phenols from the skins to be transferred to the wine. The wine was barreled into a combination of small oak barrels and aged 30 months before bottling. Throughout the aging process, each barrel was checked weekly and only the most highly rated barrels made it into the final blend. The final selection was bottled unfiltered to preserve the tannin structure and aromatics. After bottling, the wine was laid down for an additional 27 months before release.